The modern workplace has drastically evolved in recent years. Working from home, which was once considered unconventional, has become the new normal. Today, skill level is more important than location, and the traditional concept of professionalism has been redefined.
Having team members work remotely can present challenges to organizations, especially in the way of collaboration between teams and different departments. It requires a strategic approach that involves creating a culture of collaboration, building trust between departments, and establishing clear communication channels.
According to the Indeed Editorial team, “Strong teamwork is a vital component to successful businesses and companies, and cross-departmental collaboration is one way to strengthen teamwork. Partnering with teams across a company helps you find new ideas, solutions or opportunities to enhance productivity, earnings or employee satisfaction.”
In this article, we’ll explore expert tips and strategies that managers and organizational leaders can use to foster effective cross-departmental collaboration.
What Is Cross-Departmental Collaboration?
Cross-departmental collaboration refers to the practice of different departments within an organization working together towards a common goal.
As Matt Masiello, Chief Marketing Officer of BabyBuddha says, “The first attempt at a cross-departmental collaboration can be a little messy, especially if there isn’t enough preparation done beforehand. While even the best-laid plans can be folly, having a plan is crucial for fostering cross-departmental collaboration.”
Cross-departmental collaboration is normal for many professionals in today’s working world, but it can become complicated. The complexity is due to factors such as remote work and time differences making successful implementation reliant on careful consideration of logistics.
How to Foster Cross-Department Collaboration
Fostering cross-departmental collaboration is critical to building a successful and cohesive organization. To achieve this, companies must establish clear communication channels, promote a culture of collaboration, and set common goals that require cross-functional teamwork.
“Cross-departmental collaboration allows an organization to take on bigger projects and tackle larger initiatives,” notes Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB. “It’s a powerful tool for organizations that are interested in making a splash.”
By taking a strategic approach to cross-departmental collaboration, companies can unlock the benefits of teamwork, innovation, and enhanced productivity.
Promote a Culture of Collaboration
Creating a culture that values and rewards collaboration can encourage cross-departmental teamwork. This allows individuals with different skills and expertise to work to achieve common goals, leading to increased innovation as different perspectives and approaches are brought to the table. It can also help identify and develop employees with high potential and transferable skills, which can be valuable for career development and succession planning.
“Developing experts is a great way to build a team of people with varied skill sets who offer immense value to the team. Instead of having employees trying to cover as much ground as possible, it can be effective to have employees focus and specialize in one key area,” mentions Joshua Host, CEO of Thrivelab.
Cross-departmental collaboration can help break down silos within an organization, fostering a culture of shared knowledge and continuous learning. Overall, tapping into talent across different teams through cross-departmental collaboration can be a powerful way to achieve business goals and promote organizational growth and development.
Set Common Goals
Setting common goals is another effective way for companies to foster cross-departmental collaboration. By establishing shared objectives that require collaboration between departments, companies can encourage cross-functional teamwork and create a sense of unity. Common goals help employees understand how their work affects other departments and how their contributions can benefit the organization as a whole.
Anthony Siskos, COO of 10PM Curfew discusses this, saying, “Common goals that require collaboration between departments are crucial to fostering cross-functional teamwork. By aligning everyone around a shared objective, departments can achieve better results, drive innovation, and create a more cohesive organization.”
To ensure the success of cross-functional collaboration, companies must ensure that goals are clear, measurable, and achievable. It’s also important to involve employees from different departments in the goal-setting process to ensure everyone is aligned and committed to achieving the common objectives. By setting common goals, companies can encourage collaboration, foster innovation, and ultimately achieve better results.
Effective communication is a key factor in fostering cross-departmental collaboration. Establishing clear communication channels and encouraging open and honest communication between departments can help to build trust and facilitate collaboration. Companies can encourage communication by providing employees with various communication channels, such as email, messaging apps, video conferencing, and regular team meetings.
Additionally, managers can encourage their employees to ask questions and share information with other departments to create a more inclusive and collaborative environment. By promoting effective communication, companies can ensure that their employees are aligned with the organization’s goals and work together effectively to achieve them.
Christy Pyrz, Chief Marketing Officer of Paradigm Peptides says, “Employees need to feel they’re in a safe space when it’s time to collaborate and brainstorm. One of the key ingredients to successful cross-departmental collaboration is having the right communication and project management tools in place. Without those, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.”
The collaboration space itself can look different depending on your work environment. For a hybrid or remote work environment, brainstorming and collaborating can happen over video calls, conference calls, emails, and with the aid of other project management and communication tools.
Provide Training and Resources
Providing training and resources is an important way for companies to foster cross-departmental collaboration. By offering training and resources on collaboration, communication, and teamwork, companies can equip employees with the skills they need to work effectively with colleagues from different departments. Training can include workshops, team-building exercises, and coaching sessions that focus on collaboration and communication.
Companies can also provide resources such as tools and technology to help facilitate collaboration, such as project management software, shared workspaces, and collaborative communication platforms. By providing these resources and training opportunities, companies can create a culture of continuous learning and development that helps employees build the skills and confidence they need to work collaboratively across departments.
“Providing training and resources is essential for fostering cross-departmental collaboration,” notes Trina Johnson, CEO of Blue Forest Farms. “By equipping employees with the necessary skills and tools, we can create a culture of continuous learning that helps us work effectively with colleagues from different departments.”
By using collaboration tools such as project management software, instant messaging, and video conferencing, companies can facilitate communication and collaboration between teams, including those working remotely.
“Harness the power of technology to break down barriers and foster collaboration across departments. By leveraging these tools, we can create a more connected and innovative work environment where teamwork knows no bounds,” notes Will Blum, Founder and CEO of Bluebird Hardwater.
These tools can help break down barriers to communication and make it easier for teams to work together seamlessly, no matter where they’re located. Companies can also use collaboration technology to create shared workspaces where teams can collaborate on projects, share files, and provide feedback in real time. By utilizing technology, companies can create a more connected and collaborative work environment that enables teams to work together more effectively.
Foster Face-to-Face Interactions
Fostering face-to-face interactions can be a powerful way to strengthen collaboration and build a more cohesive team. By bringing employees from different departments together for team-building events or other activities, organizations can create opportunities for individuals to connect and build relationships beyond their usual work interactions.
According to Adrianne Nickerson, CEO of Oula, “Building bridges between departments through face-to-face interactions can lay the foundation for long-lasting relationships and effective collaboration. Come together with your team and break down the barriers to achieve common goals.”
This can help build trust, break down silos, and promote more effective cross-departmental collaboration. Encouraging face-to-face interactions is especially important in today’s remote work environment, where teams may be physically separated and communication can be more challenging.
Rewarding collaboration is an important way for companies to foster cross-departmental collaboration. When employees feel recognized and valued for their collaborative efforts, they are more likely to continue working effectively across departments.
“Collaboration is key to success in today’s fast-paced business world,” says Dan Potter, Head of Digital at CRAFTD London. “By recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts, we can build a culture that values teamwork and encourages innovation across departments.”
Companies can offer incentives such as bonuses, promotions, or other forms of recognition to employees who demonstrate strong collaborative skills. By doing so, companies can reinforce the importance of cross-departmental teamwork and create a culture that encourages collaboration and communication.
Seek Feedback on Your Strategies
If you notice that none of your strategies seem to be working, solicit employee feedback on your efforts to encourage said collaboration. By actively seeking input from employees, managers can identify potential roadblocks or areas of improvement that may be hindering collaboration efforts. You can use this feedback to develop more effective collaboration strategies tailored to the organization’s unique needs.
As Andy Khubani, Founder and CEO of Copper Fit says, “The value of seeking feedback from employees on efforts to encourage cross-departmental collaboration can’t be overstated. It will identify areas for improvement and tailor our strategies to better suit your organization’s needs and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation.”
Involving employees in the process of encouraging collaboration can increase engagement and buy-in, as they feel more invested in the success of the initiatives being implemented.
Fostering cross-departmental collaboration in the workplace can lead to numerous benefits, such as increased innovation, improved communication, and a better understanding of the organization as a whole.
By implementing strategies such as encouraging communication, setting common goals, providing training and resources, utilizing technology, rewarding collaboration, and fostering face-to-face interactions, organizations can create a culture that values teamwork and promotes collaboration across departments. By working together towards shared goals, departments can break down silos and achieve success as a united team.
This article is a paid partnership.